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Book Review - Simon & Schuster's Guide to Orchids

Simon & Schusterís Guide to Orchids, by Alberto Fanfani and Walter Rossi is a handy little book if you need a quick source of basic cultural information about a particular orchid. The book contains 250 color photos over 160 types of orchid species and hybrids. This makes it a valuable aid in identifying those mystery orchids that we all seem to come across.
The introductory section of the book contains historical information about early orchids and their collectors. The next section contains a botanical description of orchids and their various structures. One of the most useful areas contains a concise explanation of the classification and naming of orchids. The chapter on cultivation covers the main topics of temperature, lighting, humidity, ventilation, watering, feeding, containers and repotting. The topics of indoor growing, pests, diseases and propagation round out this section.

The heart of this book is the alphabetical listing of orchid species and hybrids. Each plant description includes the origin of the orchid, a description of the plant and flowers and cultural tips. The description includes 3 pictorial symbols to indicate each plantís temperature and lighting needs and whether or not the plant is fragrant. At least one close-up color photo accompanies each plant. Several types of orchids warrant a longer description and more cultural details. The longer articles offer more space for photos of excellent examples of these more popular orchids.

The last area of the book includes a nice glossary of frequently used terminology and a bibliography.

I find this a handy book for a quick reference for basic cultural information. I use it a lot when prowling around eBay to learn more about some of the orchids that I havenít yet tried.


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